In Loving Memory

Today I will not be posting a recipe, in fact I will not be talking about food much at all.  Today marks  15 days since my mother Dawn Linda Marshall has passed away.  I have finally gotten enough courage to update everyone with what I have been going through the last few months.

The doctors told mom in December that she had pneumonia but after the medication failed to work there needed to be more investigating. In Late January mom lost feeling in her left arm and my father rushed her into the hospital. They did an emergency CT Scan and found a mass on her lungs that indicated that it was most likely cancer. After seven days in hospital and a 10 day stay on the Thoracic Surgery floor in the Victoria General in Halifax her lungs were drained and she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Doctors were still hopeful and said that she would probably be able to have some radiation and chemotherapy. We took mom home to wait and hear when treatment may begin but sadly mom suffered a stroke and because of this she was back in hospital for stroke rehab. It was then when we discovered that my mother would be in palliative care. This news was devastating for us all.

Mom drinking down some of my home brewed Kombucha and vegan french onion soup.

Mom drinking down some of my home brewed Kombucha and vegan french onion soup.

I have been so close to my mom, no matter where I lived – Australia – Belize – Nantucket – Halifax – Montreal – Alberta – Next Door- I still spoke with her at least once a day. She was my rock, my source of inspiration, my mentor, and my best friend. Because of how close I was to my mother I couldn’t focus on anything but spending time with her.  I went on a leave of absence -AND STILL AM- from enVie and Superstore and in a sense I disappeared from my normal life. I couldn’t do anything but be with her and.. sleep. I want to thank all the lovely superstore coordinators for putting up with my lack of classes and enVie for pulling together as such a strong team and letting me leave with no extra stress on my back. How blessed I am to have such understanding people in my life.

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So while mom was receiving stroke rehab all we wanted was to get her home. We wanted her to enjoy her remaining time in the one and only house she ever lived in with my father and of course me and my two brothers. It took a couple of weeks but we put together a plan with a huge team at the QE11 Hospital (Nurses, Doctors, Palliative Care workers, Wecare Workers, Occupational Therapy, VON and list goes on).

On March 12th we were able to take momma home and she was able to spend 12 days at home.  She had some very special days and of course some hard days.  Mom wanted to have a Top Chef Canada viewing Party on that Friday so her sister, brother in law, good friends Elaine, Ron, Tammy came over for a second viewing of the show, which was so special! Mom was able to watch the first two episodes and was so proud. She showed it to every new person that came through the door too!

Thanks mom for all your support and being so proud of me :)

Thanks mom for all your support and being so proud of me :)

Besides enjoying watching episodes 1 and 2 of Top Chef she was also able to get multiple foot massages and back massages from James (my brother) and Dad but not to forget about the Visit she had from Marlana her good friend, daughter from another momma and massage therapist who also practiced a little reiki which seemed to really relax her.

A few days before her passing she was feeling so good that her friends of over 50 years from junior high came for a visit and reminisced about times they had together. That same day a neighbour of over 30 years visited and another neighbour Kyle, Michelle and their daughter Emma came for a hello. That night was just as good as that day because I was able to enjoy the movie Saving Mr. Banks with her and we even faced timed my friend from Australia.

Mom had many visits from her grandpuppy Link, Sons (my brothers), daughter in-laws (who she loved like her own daughters) and we were able to have one last family meal together that I cooked back in February. We enjoyed veggie burgers, turkey burgers, salad and organic chicken and barley soup. It is so special having that last memory of our whole family together.. even crazy Link!

Silly family photo shoot in February (puppy link is hiding in the back!)

Silly family photo shoot in February (puppy link is hiding in the back!)

So on Sunday March 23rd mom passed away holding my hand peacefully.  She was surrounded by her sister Debbie, her niece Haley and my brother Luke on the phone.  I do not know what I would have done If they were not there with mom and I that day. We were able to say goodbye and mom was able to go peacefully in her living room with a view of her beautiful lake as light snow fell from the sky.

The view from our home in Uniacke that mom had when she came home.

The view from our home in Uniacke that mom had when she came home.

My mom was the best wife my father could have ever had, the best mother my brothers and I could have wished for, the coolest friend that anyone would have been lucky to have and the most memorable teacher of all times. I was lucky enough to read her a special poem at her funeral and try to have my final goodbye of her earthly self, I say that because I know she is with me still. This is the poem I read to her :

I will wait for you…

I will wait for you…
Though we never had a chance to say goodbye,
Remember me…
When winter snows are falling through a quiet sky
I’ll remember you
When, in our darkest hour,
You held my hand and prayed I wouldn’t go,
But a silent voice called out to me;
My time had come, and I had to travel Home…

Since then, I know your life has never been the same,
For I visit you each day:
So many times I’ve felt your pain:
I’ve watched you cry:
And I’ve heard you call my name…

But now, further along life’s road I stand
In a timeless world, just beyond your sight,
Waiting for the day when I can take your hand and bring you across
to this land of Golden Light…

Till then, remember me, you understand-and try not to cry.
But if you do:
Let your tears fall
For the happiness and joy we knew,
And for the special love we shared,
For love can never die.

Stephen O’Brien

 When we experience things like this in our lives we come to question what life is all about. Why are we here? And we then discover how precious life is. This experience is teaching me to try not to sweat the small stuff and to enjoy life to the fullest by surrounding ourselves with the people that matter.

So what is next for me? Well that is a little unknown but what I do know is that I will be writing my Nutrition exam for the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition at the end of the month and then will be taking the first vacation I have had in two years to the Dominican Republic at a five star resort (which has a casino and top notch nightly entertainment that my mom would have LOVED). So stay tuned and be patient with me because I am taking the next 4 weeks for myself, but I can’t wait to share food and cooking classes with you in late spring.

Thanks for reading and seeing a little deeper into my life, and live each day as if it were your last!

xo

-Lauren

Sun-dried Tomato Kale Chips

Kale-ChipKale chips are so tasty. My favourite evening snacker. They have become increasingly popular so I decided it was finally time to post a recipe that I really love.  I will also show you my quick and easy method to sprout and peel almonds to turn into a paste coating for the chips!

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Kale has often been referred to as a “Superfood”. But what does that really mean? Well, researchers have found that kale has an abundance of phytochemicals, which are substances that have been associated with prevention of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. Phytochemicals are believed to help with cell damage, prevent cancer cell replication, and decrease cholesterol levels. Kale is rich in vitamins A, C & K.  Always look for kale with firm dark coloured leaves and moist, firm stems.

Kale-Chip-photos

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of kale
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (choose organic & nitrate free!)
  • 1 cup peeled and soaked almonds
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup soaking water from tomatoes
  • 2-4 T fresh basil
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 4 T Nutritional Yeast
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt

Method:

  1. Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in about 1 1/2 cups of water. Then separately soak the almonds in a bowl. Almonds are best when soaked at room temperature overnight, if you do to have enough time cashews can be used instead of almonds and they only need to soak about 2 hours.
  2. After the almond and sun-dried tomatoes have soaked, save the tomato water and discard the almond water. You now will be able to pop off the skins of the almonds with your fingers. This will give you blanched almonds with the benefits of raw living enzymes!
  3. In a food processor place all the ingredients except for the kale and salt. Process this mixture until smooth. Add the salt now to taste.
  4. Wash and dry the kale and tear the leaves from the stems (save the stems for juicing). The drier the leaves of the kale the better the sauce will stick to the leaves. Place the leaves in a large bowl and rub sauce all over the leaves.
  5. Bake at 250F for 30-35 minutes or until chips are completely dry. If you are lucky enough to own a dehydrator then you can dehydrate for about 12 hours at 105-110F. Kale chips are ready when they are super crispy. Keep in a dry sealed container for ultimate crunch!
Slipping the skin off the soaked, raw almonds.

Slipping the skin off the soaked, raw almonds.

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The finished peeled almonds.

Ready to rub sauce all over the kale leaves.

Ready to rub sauce all over the kale leaves.

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Kale chips ready to hit the oven!

Fresh, crispy kale chips !

Fresh, crispy kale chips !

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Blood Orange & Pomegranate Juice

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This recipe was a sweet treat that I liked starting my day with during my juice cleanse. Having this sweet fruit juice in the morning during my cleanse gave me the added energy to begin my long busy days. Did I mention it is absolutely delicious?Blood-Orange-Pomegranate

Luscious blood orange

Luscious blood orangePomegranate Pomegranate

Ingredients:

  • 1 pomegranate, peeled an chopped
  • 1/2 head of romaine lettuce
  • 1 blood orange, skin removed
  • 1 lime, skin removed
  • 1/2 mango, skin removed
  • 1/2 cucumber

Method:

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  1. Juice all ingredients, shake and enjoy!

 

 

My 2014 Juice Cleanse

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This Is my second juice cleanse/ fast I have been on. If your interested in the first experience I had and some of the recipes click here : http://www.pilotantics.com/lauren/my-first-cleanse-a-juicy-experience/. To make it easy I am setting it up similar to how I did before.

I felt like I needed to start the new year off right. The Year 2013 was probably one of the biggest, craziest, hardest, confusing, fun, and exciting times in my life to date. More on that later ;). With that being said I decided to wake up on January 1st well rested, not hung over and Day 1 of no caffeine because I planned a juice cleanse sometime in January.  I just bought a new Omega which masticates the vegetables and fruits and keeps the juice fresh and unharmed, which makes it full of nutrients! This time of year can be super difficult to juice cleanse or do any sort of fasting but can also be a great time of year because its a fresh year and it is so amazing to start it off clean! SO that is exactly what I planned on doing.

Click HERE for my Blood Orange Pomegranate juice!

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Lauren’s Cleansing Guidelines:

  • Drink at least 1 L of green juice a day. Use juices that are 80% derived from green veggies.
  • Drink any other types of juice, for example fruit juice. Do not exceed up to 1L a day.
  • Start morning with at least ½ L of room temp. water and lemon and a tea if desired. I chose to mostly sip on a detox tea throughout my juices. It contained milk thistle, horsetail and nettles.
  • Break 2 hours between juices and fuel with water or lemon water.
  • Take good quality multi vitamin.
  • Do light yoga or meditation in the morning.
  • Try not to work to much and take naps if need be.

Pre Cleanse:

  • January 1st I stopped drinking coffee…. major withdrawals followed.
  • Incorporate more greens in diet, like smoothies and lots of salads!
  • Eat fermented foods to ease digestion.
  • Sleep lots!
  • Buy lots of tasty herbal teas.

Day 1:

  • Today began with an early rise after two nights of double shifts (I’m sleepy).
  • Not only would I be partaking in my own 2014 Juice cleanse. Diandra, Cory (owners at enVie), my friend Elena and 35 of our customers were cleansing with us. This meant that we were heading in to the restaurant for 6 am to start juicing over 100 juices!
  • I am finding it extremely hard to wake up and get out of bed. I am not getting enough sleep and it hurts. I feel a headache coming on…
  • Had to get the day going so I headed to Superstore with my juices in hand to do live cooking demos for the 15th anniversary of the PC cooking school. I handed out over 250 samples of pasta. The store was filled with the aroma of fresh vegetables and roasted tomato sauce, and I couldn’t even have a taste. WHAT TORTURE! Sip. Sip. Sip. Down went the juices.
  • Nope my Day was not yet over, I went back to enVie to work dinner service! Tossing delicious tempeh Alfredo in a pan with amaranth penne was torture, and without even thinking I toss a piece of pasta in my mouth to check seasoning. OPPS! I call that “juice brain”.
  • NOTE: I highly recommend taking a calm part or time in your life to cleanse, and not when your schedule is filled to the brim (Like me!)
  • Near the end of the night I had a slight headache, most likely because I had not slept enough.
  • Overall I felt proud at getting though this day. It was long, busy and filled with temptation.

Day 2:

  • The morning headache was back. My body needs hydration, and my lips were chapped. NEED MORE WATER.  Once I drank a large glass of room temperature water with lemon my headache subsides. This is truly amazing because I really felt like I could read my body and know what it needed.  I was not in caffeine withdrawals as I was before in my previous cleanse and was able to banish the headaches with some water. HOW COOL!
  • I only needed to go in to work for cosmetic juice prep and restaurant prep than and it thankfully was a short work day. Although it was my day off I clocked in five hours and juiced for the participating enVie juice cleansers.
  • I headed home at 11am for a much needed nap. Sleep, sleep, sleep was my goal for the rest of this day. Luckily my roommate was on the cleanse with me so there was no solid food temptations, which often is difficult for juice cleansers! Home temptations are the worst!

Day 3:

  • Another 5am wake up call happened today. Up for another day to prepare enVie’s juice for all of our cleansers. Ahem, you’re welcome.
  • Lots and lots of energy all day. I felt as though I could go forever like the energizer bunny! This was great because I had a schedule filled for the day.
  • After a bit of prep with owner Diandra for our class on nuts, seeds, and beans in the am we were in need of some TLC. So we headed to the Hydrostone Osteopathy clinic www.hydrostoneosteopathy.com  for an infrared sauna treatment! It was so detoxifying and invigorating!
  • Lots and lots of water and a 20 minute power nap followed by enVie’s Nuts, Seeds, and Beans class was great! Napping is just so needed for my day and this juice cleanse.
  • Early to bed, because I will be early to rise. Night Night I said to the world.

Day 4:

  •  Getting out of bed was the easiest on this day. I almost felt as if I just “popped up” and was ready do go, which for me is a never!
  • Energy was low, which is not common for day four of a cleanse, almost as if my day three and day four were mixed up.
  • Things seemed to be moving in slow motion at work, but I got through the day :)

Day 5:

  • Waking up is was such a chore today :(. I felt slightly dizzy and light headed upon waking up. Also felt slightly headachy and dry, but there was good news! As soon as I hit the lemon water I felt on top again
  • Work was cancelled!!!! Snow Storm. I felt like the luckiest girl on the planet this day. I took it quite easy but in between my naps and catching up on The Bachelor (I know! My guilty pleasure) I Managed to make my first batch of coconut almond yoghurt! More of that to come when I have perfected the art of vegan yoghurt making!
  • I headed to bed early and felt the best I had since the cleanse had begun. I consciously made the decision that this detox was almost finished. I congratulated myself and decided that day 6 would be my final day :)

Day 6:

  • Juice, Juice, Juice! Today was my last day. I felt excited and proud that I had made it to my final day.
  • I was left feeling light, empowered and full of life. Cleansing not only gave my body a well deserved rest but it also helped me practice will-power. This experience gave me the strength that I needed in my everyday life to be able to resist temptation and learn how to follow what my body truly needs.
  • Strangely enough all I craved was boiled turnip! I know it doesn’t sound delicious but if you have ever done any sort of fasting you might be able to relate a little ;)
The daily lineup!

The daily lineup!

Post Cleanse:

  • Introduced only raw fruits and veggies for the first two days.
  • On day 1-Post-Cleanse I had fresh cut fruit for breakfast, followed by mashed turnip for lunch and for dinner I had a huge salad dressed with lemon juice and turmeric.
  • Made sushi on day 2-Post-Cleanse with cauliflower rice instead of brown rice (because it is easier to digest).
  • Introduced grains to my diet on day 3-Post-Cleanse.
  • Enjoyed my coconut-almond yogurt on day 4-Post-Cleanse in a fresh green smoothie and also had a helping of stewed Lima beans with peanut sauce and veggies!
  • Slowly eased back into my vegan food regime, but choosing to stay away from packed foods with scary ingredients that I cannot pronounce!
  • All I have to say is “Super Clean in 2014! Drink up!”

Cashew “Goat Cheese” Log

Cashew-Goat-CheeseDiandra (owner at enVie- A vegan kitchen) www.enviehalifax.com and I have been experimenting a lot with vegan cheeses at the restaurant. We have made aged cheddar, cheese curds, mozzarella balls, gruyere, and Parmesan – All from nuts with no dairy or animal products.

Cashew-Log

I am particularly excited about this recipe because unlike the recipes we use at the restaurant this is easily adaptable to the home kitchen and I feel you will experience success with it!

Cashew Goat Cheese Log

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. tahini
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • small handful of fresh basil
  • cracked black pepper (or chopped walnuts) for a rolled garnish look – OPTIONAL

Method:

            1. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with 3 cups of water. Soak for 4-6 hours on kitchen counter.
            2. Drain the cashews and rinse.
            3. In a blender place the cashews, oil, lemon juice, sea salt and water. Blend until you get an extra creamy consistency.
            4. Lay a new or very clean terry cloth rag on counter and place the “cheese” mixture inside.

              Mixture placed in middle of cloth.

              Mixture placed in middle of cloth.

            5. Pull-up all edges of the rag and secure in a bundle with an elastic band.
              Cheese hanging and aging over sink.

              Cheese hanging and aging over sink.

              Cheese after about a 24 hour age.

              Cheese after about a 24 hour age.

            6. Secure bundled “cheese” mixture and hang from something like a cupboard door or above your sink. Make sure there is something below the cheese to catch the liquid that drips off the “cheese”. Let this mixture hang for 12-24 hours at room temperature.
            7. Remove mixture from terry cloth and add chopped sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. Stir to combine all ingredients together.DSC_0050
            8. Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and place the cheese horizontally in the centre of the wrap. Now use the wrap to guide the shape of the log (you can also use parchment paper). Sprinkle the cheese with your optional garnish (pepper, walnuts etc.).DSC_0055
            9. Roll up the cheese like a big candy and secure ends by twisting them.DSC_0059
            10. Chill cheese in refrigerator for a few hours and enjoy!DSC_0063